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"E Notes"

Our Schools, Our Kids, Our Future

Taking Responsibility . . .

Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seemed to go right? Did you feel that you simply got up on the wrong side of the bed? Or did you attempt to place the blame on someone else because things did not go the way you had hoped? Sometimes our own small errors in judgment are compounded and become larger problems, but who should take ownership for them?

We all have trials and tribulations and sometimes issues that we deal with on a daily basis are made worse by circumstances. For example, you are running late for work or school, so you coast through a stop sign or speed, and then get stopped by a police officer. Do you blame the officer or your family who made you late or maybe the weather? If you pause to think about it, it is not the officer’s fault that you were late. You need to take responsibility for your actions and admit your mistake. We all make mistakes but one of the most important decisions we can make is to accept complete responsibility for everything we are and everything we do.

When you blame others for issues that go wrong or for things in your life that you are not happy about, you’re giving them the power to create or destroy your happiness. Accepting responsibility means that you refuse to criticize or blame others for any reason. As parents, this is an important lesson that we can teach and model for our children. We must first set the rules and boundaries for our children and when they stretch those boundaries or break the rules, they must have appropriate consequences while we still demonstrate our love for them. As educators, we can reinforce this lesson at school.

As adults, it is important to remember that children make mistakes. Even good kids make dumb mistakes every day. It is important that there are established rules and consequences so the long-term effects are not devastating. If children know that they can get away with the small stuff, they will never accept responsibility for their actions. This typically results in compounding problems at home, at school, or even with the legal authorities.

When you accept full responsibility for a situation, it means you have the power to create a solution. For example, "I am responsible for being late." Or "I am responsible for this situation." You can also take credit for great ideas and actions, "I am responsible for performing well on my job." "I am responsible for improvement in playing the guitar." For any part of your life that you are not happy with right now, say "I am responsible for…" and complete the sentence. Feel how empowering that can be! When you are the problem, you are also the solution. If you continue to blame everyone else, you are powerless. If you accept responsibility for your life and every aspect of it, even the parts you previously thought you had no control over, your life will get better. Taking charge of your life by accepting full responsibility for everything that happens to you is the key to high self-esteem, self-respect, and personal achievement. It may not pay for that ticket from the police officer, but taking personal responsibility is the main source of high performance and happiness for every person in every situation.

(Portions taken from Fred Helmink)

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